Ayacucho was previously at the centre of the Huari Culture, and the site of the battle that led to Latin American independence. Yet despite a celebrated history, recent times have witnessed Ayacucho suffering from isolation, poverty and underdevelopment.
Many people now remain displaced and seriously affected due to decades of socio-political turbulence.
Ayacucho city is home to lively manufacturing, agricultural and educational sectors. On the eastern slopes of the Andes, it is 2,746m above sea level. Due to forced internal migration, Ayacucho has undergone a huge demographic shift during the previous decades.
In the 1980s and 1990s the rural population experienced the horror of extreme violence, as a result of Peru’s internal conflict. Numerous people were left with no option other than to escape to the city, and abandon their homes and lifestyles.
The political refugees then established their camps on the periphery of Ayacucho. Here they are in desperate need of essential services such as electricity, water and sanitation. This results in a significant rise in infectious diseases. Unemployment is rife, which can contribute to malnutrition, violence, poverty, and the abandoning of children. Deep wounds remain amongst the population, because of the extreme violence experienced. This has bred a class of scare and scepticism, which is still evident today.
Education required to develop the region
With a total poverty rate of 73%, plus nine in ten households in rural areas suffering from poverty, Ayacucho is one of the most underprivileged regions in Peru. The shortage inadequate access to formal work for low-income families, and limited development of micro-enterprises all contribute to this.
One more problem faced is the insufficient level of education in the region: 17% of people have never received formal education, meanwhile illiteracy has depreciated from 45% in 1981 to 18% in 2007, yet it is still high in rural areas at 27%.
How we're helping in Ayacucho
SOS Children's Villages has been in Ayacucho since 2006.
Our family strengthening programme, which is available at the SOS social centre, provides services for children under five years old as well as their mothers – especially those living in the surroundings of severe poverty.
The aims of the programme are to address the nutritional and health needs of children. We also have measures in place to help prepare young children for starting school, as well as deliver basic skills training for parents. Childminding is also available, so parents can leave their children in safe hands while they go to work.
Children's Village in Ayacucho
SOS families supply a loving and caring home for vulnerable children in Ayacucho who are now unable to live with their parents.
The children live with their siblings and are devotedly looked after by their SOS Mothers. With their educational and health needs taken care of, they have hope for a bright future.
Will you help an orphaned child in Ayacucho, and become a child sponsor today? Young lives in Peru depend upon your generous support.